HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is not adequately protecting ancestral burials. That’s the consensus from a conference on iwi kupuna, or ancestral bones.
Native Hawaiians gathered for two days on Maui to commemorate the 30th anniversary marking the discovery of 1,200 sets of remains at Honokahua Bay.
The discovery spurred new laws and forced developers of the Ritz Carlton resort to push its project further inland.
Practitioners say that despite the challenges, more needs to be done to protect iwi kupuna from desecration.
“Maybe people think it’s okay. It’s not okay and it’s never got fixed," said Palikapu Dedman of Pele Defense Fund. "So for those who say it’s fixed. It’s not and the development on this island especially is going rapid digging up all the iwi.”
Cultural practitioners say the state’s historic preservation laws still don’t provide enough rights to families.
They believe burials on Maui, especially, are at risk of sand mining and new hotels.